As nature works her way through the seasons, the environment responds. So, we can celebrate new life in Spring – blossoms, blooms, births, and the end of hibernating.
We experience cycles everywhere – there are business cycles and product lifecycles, even news cycles. With the pandemic and digital media, sometimes it feels as though we’re living in an extended spin cycle!
If you are in an environment where everything is urgent and there’s never time to plan, take a step back and consider how seasons and cycles work in your business, especially with regards to your communication efforts.
I was shocked to hear a few years ago that one of the country’s most popular morning radio shows was scripted and rehearsed down to the last minute. On-air it sounded like spontaneous banter and witty one-liners. But that’s very seldom the case. Even with always-on, live social media, those who are successful rarely rely on off-the-cuff spontaneity.
Research & Plan
The immediacy and abundance of digital media – be it social media, online news, broadcasting, or podcasting and webinars, can give the false impression that research and planning are on their way out.
Don’t be fooled. These steps in your communications efforts are more important now than ever. Researching where our audience is, and the messaging most relevant to them has never been more critical.
Plan and periodise your calendar in line with your business and your customers’ cycles.
In the same way that flowers don’t bloom all year round (well, most flowers 😊), and sportsmen periodise their training, it doesn’t make good business sense to be shouting all year round.
A useful approach to communication planning is to schedule across different time horizons. They could link these to your business’s financial reporting rhythm. That would mean you have a 3- or 5-year plan which encompasses the brand essence and purpose, ie the most durable aspects of the enterprise. Remember to consider changes to the communications landscape over this period too. Especially where there’s tech involved (which includes media), small incremental changes can shift an industry.
The annual plan and quarterly plans should align to the longer-term plan or strategy but will have different objectives and be more focused on foreseeable events.
Day-to-day social media posts will be relevant for the immediate trends, events and breaking news. Although aligned to the longer-term objectives, these platforms should be used in context. It’s a snack, not a Sunday lunch.
Like an animal coming out of hibernation, when it’s time for the communication to break, there shouldn’t be any holding back. That’s one of the benefits of a good plan, all the snags should be addressed in the off-season.
The final phase in the process is probably the one that has changed the most in the recent past. Measuring a campaign’s performance used to be quite a slow process. But now, with digital media, we can see quite quickly how much traction we’re getting and with whom. And it’s possible to make changes on the fly.
Spring clean and be brave enough to let go of outdated models and ideas. There’s a saying that at times the most risk-averse, conservative behaviour is the most recklessly risky option.
We’re ready to do Spring things with you! Give us a call.
I hope you are all thriving in these challenging times.